Oregon State had the 2nd best defense in the PAC-10 last year, but lost several key players. The Beavers gave up 126 yards rushing against Portland State, good for 44th in the nation. Portland State threw for 174 yards against OSU, puts the Beavers 24th in the country in pass defense. Oregon State is 12th. This is the expected lineup for Oregon State:
Defensive End: Joe Lemma (6-3, 257, Jr.) has good speed to get around his blocker. He recorded 15 tackles and 1 sack in 2004. He's a physical end good against the run.
Jeff Van Orsow (6-4, 262, So.) is counted on to have a great year as a pass rusher. He's got good quickness and will also play the run well. Van Orsow had 15 tackles, 3 sacks and 5.5 sacks last season.
Derek Hall (6-3, 257, Sr.) has been injured with back spasms and may or may not be playing. Joe Ruldolph (6-5, 243, So.) will also get significant playing time.
Defensive Tackle: Ben Siegert (6-4, 275, Jr.) missed the Portland State game but is expected to be back this Saturday. He hurt his shoulder for the second time in his career but a shoulder scope provided hope that he will return. Siegert was named to the Outland Trophy watch list in the preseason and is strong against the run.
Alvin Smith (6-2, 322, Sr.) will draw double-teaming from most opponents.
Sir Henry Anderson (6-3, 314, Sr.) started the Portland State game and will be ready if needed. Anderson had 23 tackles last year. Anderson had 1.5 tackles for loss against Portland State. Naymon Frank (6-5, 285, So.) should also see the field.
Strong Linebacker: Keith Ellison (6-2, 227, Sr.) led the team in sacks last year with 4. He's a playmaker for the Beavers and one of the best linebackers in the PAC-10 for pass coverage. Ellison had 67 tackles, 4 sacks, 10.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 7 pass deflections and 3 forced fumbles last year. Keith had 11 tackles against Portland State. He is a former strong safety who hits like a freight train.
Middle Linebacker: Trent Bray (6-1, 237, Sr.) is making an assault on the Oregon State record books in tackles and is one of the leaders of the defense. Bray had 122 tackles last season, 3 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss last season. He has great instincts and hitting ability and led the team in tackles against Portland State with 12, including 1.5 for loss.
Chaz Scott (6-2, 233, Sr.) was the starter for four games last season, recording 40 tackles. The linebacking crew is definitely the strength of the Oregon State defense.
Cornerback: Keenan Lewis (6-1, 190, Fr.) was injured last year so had to redshirt.
Gerard Lawson (5-11, 188, So.) is a bit raw and needs to improve his physical play against the run.
Free Safety: Lamar Herron (6-0, 210, So.) has tremendous range with the speed of a cornerback. He needs to improve on physical play against the run.
Strong Safety: Sabby Piscitelli (6-3, 224, Jr.) led the Beavers in interceptions last year with 5, also had 54 tackles and 8 pass deflections. He has excellent speed and tackling ability and is the only returning starter.